Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fwd: Has education lost its heart? Why do Students commit Suicide?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ashok T. Jaisinghani <ashokjai@sancharnet.in>
Date: Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 1:41 PM
Subject: Re: Has education lost its heart? Why do Students commit Suicide?

Why do Students commit Suicide?
    There are different reasons which make the students commit suicide. Some of the main causes of suicides among students are the beatings and insults they get from their teachers in front of the other students, ragging by the bullies of their schools and colleges, caste-based discrimination, poverty, and failure in examinations, especially due to the difficult subjects like MATHEMATICS.
    Among the subjects taught for many courses in schools and colleges, Mathematics is the biggest curse for the majority of students.
    More than 95% of the Mathematics taught to students has no practical value, and so it must be removed from their courses. Why are the students forced to learn Impractical Mathematics, which has absolutely no relevance in real life? The majority of school and college students should not be taught Mathematics that will never be used in practice at any time in their lives.
    Instead of being made to waste their time in learning Impractical Mathematics, many of the students should be spending their time in some health-promoting sports and games, or in learning to sing and dance. The students should be made to feel the joy of learning useful subjects like the Science of Nutrition and Health. They should cherish their school days when they become adults.
    Some of our greatest industrialists, businessmen, philanthropists, writers, film makers, actors, singers, dancers, painters, orators, social and political leaders, saints, etc, had been very weak in Mathematics and had even failed in the subject. We should never belittle their contributions to society just because they were weak in Mathematics.
Education is a Big Farce in India
    For more than 50 years, I have known that corrupt officials of School Boards and Universities have been leaking question papers before the examinations to those students who are ready to pay high amounts of money for the question papers. Even some examiners are known for taking bribes to pass the students who had actually failed in Mathematics and other difficult subjects. By paying big bribes, the rich students can even get very high marks in Mathematics that are needed for admission to some courses of higher studies. Education has become a highly commercialized farce in India.
    Thousands of students have committed suicide because of failing in Mathematics. Even some bright students have killed themselves because they could not get high marks in Mathematics, which are required for getting admission to many higher courses. There is no need to torture the students by making them learn something that has no practical value in life. It is absolutely idiotic to waste massive amount of time of the millions of students in making them learn the Mathematics, which is not of any use in their lives. The lives and welfare of the students are much more important than the teaching of Impractical Mathematics.
Impractical Mathematics is Anti-Dalit
    Many adversely affected students, who fail in Mathematics, belong to the Dalit and other poor classes because they cannot afford to take additional private tuitions like the well-to-do students from the rich families. Many poor students do not even have enough time to study because they have to do part-time work to finance their studies. So how can they manage to get more time to learn Mathematics? The teaching of Impractical Mathematics is anti-Dalit and anti-poor. 
    Should Impractical Mathematics be taught compulsorily to all students in schools just to keep all the Mathematics teachers in employment? The Mathematics teachers, who insist that all the students must be forced to learn Impractical Mathematics, are just a pack of lunatics and criminals who deserve to be sent to Mental Hospitals and Prisons. The interests of millions of students are much more important than the interests of a few teachers who can teach Impractical Mathematics.
    There should be a worldwide campaign by the students, their parents and well-wishers against the compulsory teaching of Impractical Mathematics. Only those students who are really interested in learning such Mathematics should be given the option to do so. The other students, who form the vast majority, should be taught only some simple type of Mathematics, which can be proved to be of practical use in their real lives. There are many types of simple Mathematics that can be taught to the students of different courses. The type of Mathematics that is taught in any particular course should be based mainly on its suitability for the jobs that the students want to take up after completing their course. 
    The students should not be detained if they fail in one or two subjects. They should be allowed the option of promotion if they continue their studies in the subjects in which they have passed. They should also have the right to get any suitable employment on the basis of their marks in the subjects in which they have passed. Should the marks in any subject be considered when the knowledge in such a subject is not required for any particular job? The marks in such a subject should be ignored while selecting a candidate for a job for which he is really suitable.
   Ashok  T. Jaisinghani. .
     Editor & Publisher:
www.Top-Nut.com    Top Nutritionist

----- Original Message -----
Sent: 18 Dec 2011 11:29 AM
Subject: Society needs to be thoroughly deschooled to get rid of the obsession with marks and ranks in place of healthy education.

Fm: Sankara Narayanan 


December 18, 2011

Has education lost its heart?


Education today in our country has not only lost its heart; it seems to have lost its direction and goal. It is a sad situation for the future generation. Well-meaning people in society are keeping quiet. The powers that be, who ought to know better, seem to be either ignoramuses or they couldn't care less! The following case history will showcase one of the major areas where modern education, especially at the primary level, nay at all levels, is going astray to the detriment of mankind's future.

Kalyani — it is her pseudonym — was a good child who, as a teenager, was as happy as any of her age could be. Her overambitious parents were charting her educational course when she was still in high school. They were obsessed with her becoming an IITian or doctor, the mark of excellence in education these days, what with the IITs advertising the hefty pay packets that their alumni were offered by the corporates for whom profit alone mattered at the end of the day.

Many people think that the pay packet of the alumni is the yardstick of excellence of an educational institution. Kalyani's parents, with their influence, could get her a seat in one of the "top-end" schools reserved for the best "parrot repeaters," otherwise called bright students, who can get anywhere above 95% marks in the finals. The school was proud of its distinction of sending the maximum number of students to IITs in the recent past.
Kalyani did not very much relish her mathematics classes, right from her KG days.

For the carefree girl, it was too much to cope with the stress of keeping pace with her teachers' expectations almost from day one at school. Smelling a rat, her parents, anxious as they were, engaged a "bright" IIT student to coach her in the evenings, so much so Kalyani did not have any time for herself, not to speak of physical exercise of any kind. Sports were taboo too.
Parental anxiety is highly contagious among children. Gradually, there seemed to be a visible change in Kalyani's demeanour. The truly extrovert girl became withdrawn, not paying much attention to her own needs, eating less and less, and she started having sleeplessness especially after a short bout of sleep in the early part. She started losing weight. Naturally, the "intelligent" parents took her to a doctor who ran all the tests and said that everything was normal and so his job was done. He advised them to take her to a psychiatrist!

Falling grades

Concurrently, Kalyani was irritable at school; her grades started falling, attracting more and more rebuke from her teachers and periodic dressing down by the Principal, who had a reputation of being a task master. She was a no-nonsense person who could not and did not "understand" a young mind!

As ill luck would have it, the psychiatrist happened to be one of the "proud" parents of one of the students of the same school. He was very proud of his son's achievements. The first thing that Kalyani heard was: "Did you not know that in your school, students getting less than 95 per cent are not recognised and they are usually not admitted there. How did you, a real dolt, could even think of getting there? The school's elevated standards have depressed you."

So saying, the next thing the psychiatrist did was to give her a long list of antidepressants with sedatives which made her sicker. She needed to be hospitalised for a few days! Grace E. Jackson, former chief of the U.S. Navy psychiatry service, in her seminal book on anti-psychotic drugs, especially antidepressants, has shown, using solid data, that all those drugs are the cause of a new disease, even in the not-so-old people, called Alzheimer's disease! The present choice of depression treatment is counselling and behavioural therapy, and not reductionist chemicals, that too for a teenager.

The last straw that broke Kalyani's back was the remark of her tutor one day: "I am sorry, I cannot coach you anymore as I find I am too intelligent to teach a dunce like you!" That was the stage when I happened to see Kalyani. The rest of her story is irrelevant to the topic of this write-up. It is time that thinking people in society raised their voice against this new crime on children by both anxious parents with misplaced priorities and the whole educational set-up.

Getting the best out of them

Education is not stuffing information into the child's head to be vomited during the examination to get ranks and seats in IITs and leading medical and business management schools. Education is, in effect, getting the best out of the student. The teacher, like a midwife, should assist the student in delivering, and not deliver herself.

"Every child is a genius only to be converted into an idiot in school," wrote Nobel Laureate Alexis Carrel. Education should aim at making healthy minds and not just making wealthy careers. Here, society needs to be thoroughly deschooled to get rid of the obsession with marks and ranks in place of healthy education.

(The writer is a former Professor of Cardiology, Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London, and former Vice-Chancellor, Manipal University. His email ID is hegdebm@gmail.com)

Education should aim at making healthy minds and not just making wealthy careers. Here, society needs to be thoroughly deschooled to get rid of the obsession with marks and ranks.

Palash Biswas
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